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New queer community space for London rises from the ashes of XXL closure

Josh Milton January 15, 2020
XXL

XXL. (XXL/Instagram)

After the closure of nightclub XXL left a gap in London’s gay scene, local councillors have secured a new LGBT+ space with aims to open by 2022.

XXL was a fixture in London’s after-hours since 2000, being hosted in Pulse, a club in Southbank, since 2012.

But a dizzying and drawn-out battle with developers resulted in the venue, which came under fire for femme/transphobia for its ‘men-only’ door policy, closing last year.

Club owners compared the night’s closure to “social cleansing”, while community leaders decried what the space would become; a cluster of skyscrapers rising 34-floors high.

While the bi-weekly club night hosted as Pulse came to end after a lengthy court appeal, activists will be reassured to learn that a new LGBT+ space was secured by councillors, Southwark News reported.

New LGBT+ space will ‘not be a like for like replacement’ of XXL, says local councillor. 

The new space will not be the same as XXL, which catered towards bears, Tooley Street counsellor Johnson Situ said in a statement.

It will offer a space to “socialise” for the queer community, the councillor added.

“While the new space will not be a like for like replacement, this agreement ensures it will provide a safe place for people to meet, socialise and celebrate the diverse LGBTQ+ population in our borough.”

The move was welcomed by Borough and Bankside ward councillor Victor Chamberlain, who campaigned for better protection of LGBT+ spaces in the borough.

“We suggested the council should agree a memorandum of understanding or put this into any agreements the developer makes with Southwark Council,” Chamberlain said.

“I’m encouraged the developers have agreed to do so and hope this will ensure our local and diverse LGBTQ+ community can continue to grow and thrive.”

XXL organisers have since fanned out across different venues around Britain.

Many queer venues have faced closures in London.

From glass-walled shopping centres to luxury apartment complexes, several gap-toothed and historic queer venues have been closed down by developers across London.

Between the years of 2006 and 2016, the total number of LGBT+ venues in the city plummeted from 125 to just 53.

The number has stalled since, partly thanks to protesters petitioning against the closures, such as the queer bar The Joiners Arms.

Slated to shutter its doors in 2014, grassroots campaigns secured the bar and Tower Hamlets councillors ordered redevelopers to preserve the space.

More: London, XXL

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